Community Series: Industry's Impact on Education - 2/5/2014
While much is said about the oil and natural gas industry’s impact on Oklahoma’s economy, the impact the industry has on education is often overlooked. Millions of dollars in tax revenue from the industry goes specifically to fund education - an area the industry is proud to support, because by ensuring our kids are getting a quality education, we ensure we will all have a quality workforce for years to come. It also means our kids will have access to a wealth of job opportunities right here in Oklahoma.
More than $200 million dollars from taxes paid by the oil and natural gas industry goes to education funds, benefiting everything from local schools to higher education and scholarships. Much of that money goes to strengthen math and science programs. Ranee Scheonhal, a high school teacher in Edmond who uses the OERB’s curriculum in her classroom, says this funding is key to having an educated workforce.
“Strong math and science skills will lead to opportunity,” said Schoenhals. “It is important for students to see, at an early age, that they have an opportunity to pursue degrees and certifications that will lead to well paying jobs with businesses located right here in Oklahoma.”
In addition to the tax dollars they already pay, oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners voluntarily contribute additional money to the OERB. A large portion of the OERB’s annual budget, millions each year, goes to education initiatives, including training and class materials for teachers who attend the OERB’s workshops. The OERB’s eight curricula reach kids K-12 and are being taught in 95 percent of Oklahoma’s schools. These voluntary contributions also pay for field trips for teachers and students who use the curricula.
“High schools seldom have funding for field trips; particularly for the fuel needed to transport students on buses,” said Schoenhals. “What a great savings for our district, and what a great educational trip for our students.”
The oil and natural gas industry and state education is a win-win situation. Our children will get a better quality education and job opportunities in the state, while companies will have a more educated workforce at all levels of the industry. Learn more about how the OERB is supporting education by visiting www.OERBHomeroom.com.